Hugo Gordon checks out the latest Santigold record…
Four years ago, Santi ‘Santigold’ White came from nowhere to release one of the best albums of 2008. Santogold (at the time self-titled, though she’s since swapped out the O for an I) was an innovative masterpiece mixing elements of indie, punk, dub and reggae to create a sound that felt completely new. Having made her mark, Santigold promptly dropped out of sight, and now she’s finally back with her sophomore album, Master Of My Make-Believe.
And that’s the problem. It’s been a while since Santigold was last here, and in the meantime the sound that she helped create has gone fairly mainstream. Thus tracks like ‘Fame’ and ‘GO!’ are a little bit too like MIA (this isn’t helped by the fact that long-time MIA associates Diplo and Switch are on board with the album). It’s not really Santigold’s fault, but the world has caught up with her while she was away, and a style that thrilled in 2008 no longer sounds so fresh.
This is not to say that Santigold doesn’t still do what she does very well. Her mastery of a variety of genres is once again on display – from the indie genius of ‘Disparate Youth’ and ‘This Isn’t Our Parade’ to the mouthy rap of ‘Look At These Hoes’ via the reggae beats of ‘Freak Like Me’ , they are all held together by a driving back-beat provided by hand-claps and African drums.
So it’s more of the same, which is in one way disappointing. Maybe this is one of those situations where the old adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is appropriate.